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Case Study: Bell Mobility/E.piphany

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Posted July 17, 2002 By Blake Rohrbacher     Feedback

When Bell Mobility, a division of Bell Canada, needed a new program to enhance its current customer service offerings while greatly improving its ability to make on-phone customer sales, they chose E.piphany.

Bell Mobility is a division of Bell Canada, itself part of BCE, Canada's largest communications company. BCE saw revenue of C$21.7 billion in 2001 and has almost 44,000 employees. Bell Mobility, the wireless arm of Bell Canada, provides cellular, paging, PCS, data, and other wireless services to over 4.3 million customers in Canada. Bell Mobility has a history of innovation; it was the first wireless carrier in North America to provide an Internet browser and instant messaging on a digital PCS phone. Always looking to provide new wireless Internet services, Bell Mobility also is always working to find new ways to serve and please its customers.

A mobile communications company, Bell Mobility depends upon the up-sell and cross-sell of new rate plans and features to existing customers. While expansion of service to new customers is always crucial, Bell Mobility holds to the premise that high-quality service and expanded offerings to existing customers is an effective way to maximize revenue. Thus, even small advantages and improvements available in those areas become extremely valuable.

Bell Mobility prides itself upon offering excellent service to its customers. It operates two customer service centers, which are staffed with over 550 customer service representatives. Those representatives handle not only traditional customer service, such as answering customer questions and problems, but also revenue enhancement. Bell Mobility's customer service team has been responsible for selling new and upgraded plans and features to the customers who call in.

The inbound call volume at Bell Mobility's customer contact centers averages 6 million per year. While dealing with this load, representatives were also trying to sell services to the customers, often with little or no sales experience, and with no company-wide sales process to guide them. With no advanced tools to guide them, representatives often fell back on basic customer information, gut instinct, and blind luck to guide their sales. What often happened was that representatives sold the services they knew the most about rather than those most needed by the customer.

The situation became a vicious circle. There was no formal sales process, so representatives couldn't sell to their potential, which minimized the possible revenue opportunity, which relegated the sales program to a low priority. Michael Stanford, group manager in the marketing department admits the problems in the Bell Mobility sales process: "The customer service representative would address the question or problem of the customer on the phone and perhaps make an offer. We offered an incentive that gave them points to redeem prizes, but at the same time, selling was treated as though it was of secondary importance." Once Bell Mobility identified the issue, its marketing and customer service teams started a search for a new program to enhance its current customer service offerings while greatly improving its ability to make on-phone customer sales.

Bell Mobility had a cross-functional team create guidelines and requirements for a CRM vendor search. The marketing department wanted greater personalization and flexibility in campaigns, and the customer service department wanted to become a profit center rather than a cost center.

The review of possible vendors took three months, and Bell Mobility chose E.piphany, with E.piphany Real-Time as the decisioning technology. E.piphany is over six years old, with $125 million in revenue and 700 employees. E.piphany provides CRM solutions for over 400 corporate clients, including 35 percent of the Fortune 100. E.piphany's expertise is software applications that provide real-time analysis of customer information, work to improve customer satisfaction, increase revenue, and reduce costs. Bell Mobility seemed to find just what it was looking for. E.piphany's solution provided real-time, self-learning analytics, open architecture (since Bell Mobility also had three internally-developed NT and mainframe systems to integrate), low cost, and flexible implementation philosophy. E.piphany had offered to build the system on-site, while all other competitors proposed off-site development. E.piphany's attitude was also important; its cooperative, thorough approach was "one of the things that proved to us that E.piphany was truly committed to our success," according to Derek Pollitt, associate director of marketing for Bell Mobility.

After the decision to move ahead with E.piphany was made, KPMG, an official E.piphany Systems Integration Partner, came onboard to assist with the implementation. In July 2001, a pilot program went live with 38 users, five days ahead of schedule and within budget.

The pilot was scheduled for three weeks, so the implementation team would have ample time to work out kinks and find minor enhancements. At the conclusion of the pilot program, E.piphany made small modifications based on their findings and the system was ready to go live. Mr. Pollit was pleased, terming the implementation process one of the smoothest Bell Mobility has ever had: "E.piphany's attention to detail was extremely helpful. Their constant probing and questioning ensured that we had thought out every critical step well in advance." Bell Mobility also pointed to E.piphany's flexibility and willingness to adapt to Bell Mobility's corporate methodology, which made the process more effective and minimized delay in problem resolution.

After the post-pilot improvements were made, the system was rolled out to 30 representatives per call center per day. Customer service representatives trained on self-paced, Web-based learning modules. The native ease of the system and the training allowed both call centers to have all representatives online within two weeks. By August 2001, the E.piphany system was fully operational, allowing immediate customer identification, customer attribute analysis, and real-time feedback. The implementation took four months. Now, rather than making rough guesses, customer representatives use the system to find the best possible matches between feature and customer and identify the top-priority marketing campaigns.

Only six months after implementation, Bell Mobility immediately saw results. The customer representatives brought in more revenue, and the marketing department was able to deliver more effective campaigns.

Top users of the E.piphany system have already seen an increase of 18 percent in their sales per hour figures. Bell Mobility is excited about this result for two reasons. First, the revenue from the customer service team is increasing, meaning that it is moving ever closer to becoming a profit center. In fact, they have seen a 16 percent increase in sales revenue, coming within the first month of deployment. Second, the figure shows a correlation between use of the E.piphany system and sales per hour, giving a strong vote of confidence for the new system's effectiveness.

Campaign velocity, the speed to fully create a marketing campaign, increased by 75 percent. It used to take Bell Mobility's marketing department three to four days to create a campaign, where it now takes three to four hours. This increased ability to make changes allows the marketing team to deploy, test, and redeploy campaigns more quickly based on customer reaction.

Other benefits of the system include real-time campaign and agent monitoring. The additional ability of company leaders to gain an understanding of the reasons behind the results has allowed them to fix problems and make constructive changes at the critical times.

For the future, Bell Mobility is considering extending its E.piphany system to other customer touchpoints, hoping for similar cost reductions and revenue increases.

Bell Mobility's experience provides two important lessons. First, CRM clients must be firm on getting what they want. Second, don't settle for a vendor who doesn't care. From the outset, Bell Mobility was aware of its key requirements. It wanted a vendor who would do the development on site. It wanted a vendor who offered an open architecture that could interface with (and not degrade the performance of) its legacy mainframe systems. It wanted a vendor who would work within its corporate culture and methodology to implement the software. E.piphany was willing and able to meet these requirements, which contributed to a pilot program deploying ahead of schedule and a very pleased client.

Bell Mobility also made sure that its chosen vendor was willing to go beyond simple contract compliance and to get involved before, during, and after the implementation. E.piphany made a commitment to Bell Mobility, and Derek Pollitt points to E.piphany's responsiveness and dedication as a key to the project's success. "You don't find too many implementations where, a month after the system is in place and the project is closed, the vendor and the consultants come back in to check up. You don't see that very often and that was one of the things that proved to us that E.piphany was truly committed to our success," he says.

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